Delhi High Court passes dynamic injunction in favour of Viacom 18, restraining rogue websites from illegally streaming IPL Events

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: The subject matter of the present suit relates to the Indian Premier League (‘IPL’), which was a Twenty20 (‘T20’) cricket franchise league in India, owned and operated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (‘BCCI’). The TATA IPL 2024 was scheduled to run from 22-3-2024 till the end of May 2024 and the matches were being held in India and included a total of 74 T20 matches (‘IPL Events’). Sanjeev Narula, J., restrained Defendants 2 to 7-rogue websites, and or any person acting on their behalf, from communicating, hosting, streaming, screening, disseminating or making available for viewing/downloading, without authorization, any part of the IPL Events on any electronic or digital platform in any manner whatsoever.


Plaintiff, Viacom 18 Media (P) Ltd. owned media rights in respect of various sporting events relating to football, badminton, hockey, MotoGP, and domestic and international cricket matches organized by BCCI. Plaintiff also owned and operated several general entertainment channels and regional channels including but not limited to Colors, Sports 18 1 SD, Sports 18 1 HD, Sports 18 Khel, MTV, MTV Beats, Nick etc. Plaintiff further owned and operated online video streaming platform ‘’ and the mobile application ‘JioCinema’.

Plaintiff entered into the Media Rights Agreement dated 27-6-2022 (‘Agreement’) with BCCI for exclusive digital media rights (for Indian sub-continent) and television rights (for overseas) in relation to IPL Events for a period of five years i.e., from 2023 to 2027. Plaintiff also enjoyed broadcast reproduction rights which were contemplated and confirmed in terms of Section 37 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

Defendants 2 to 7 were rogue websites which were hosting illegal and pirated content; Defendants 8 to 13 were Domain Name Registrars (‘DNRs’) of the domain names where the rogue websites were being hosted; Defendants 14 to 20 were internet service providers (‘ISPs’) and telecom service providers (‘TSPs’); Defendants 21 and 22 were, respectively, the Department of Telecommunications (‘DoT’) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (‘MeitY’).

Plaintiff apprehended that once the IPL Events commence, given their status as one of the most popular sporting events in the world, a large number of websites, including but not limited to Defendants 2 to 7, were likely to indulge in unauthorized disseminations and communications of the cricket matches and parts thereof on online platforms. Plaintiff submitted that many rogue websites, upon being blocked/taken down, might also create further mirror websites to continue the illegal transmission/communication/broadcast of the IPL Events. Thus, plaintiff sought dynamic injunction to ensure protection of its rights over its work and to restrain illegal and unauthorized dissemination and broadcast of matches and/or parts thereof in IPL Events.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court observed that plaintiff had secured the digital broadcasting rights for these events through substantial financial investment and unauthorized dissemination, telecasting, or broadcasting of these events on various websites and digital platforms posed a significant threat to plaintiff’s revenue streams. Such illicit activities would undermine the value of the considerable investment made by plaintiff in acquiring these rights. Further, the broadcast content, including footage, commentary, and other composite elements, was fully safeguarded under the Copyright Act, 1957. Thus, the unauthorized use of these elements not only affected the financial returns but also infringed upon the copyright protections accorded to the broadcast content.

The Court opined that the issue of rogue websites engaging in the piracy of copyrighted content presented a recurring threat, especially with the imminent IPL Events. These sites had demonstrated a propensity to illegally broadcast copyrighted works, underscoring the urgency to pre-emptively block their access to such content. Thus, there was a need for judicial intervention to prohibit these rogue websites from disseminating/communicating any portions of the cricket matches/IPL Events without proper authorization or licensing from plaintiff.

The Court held that plaintiff had made out a prima facie case for grant of an interim injunction. The Court opined that the short duration of these T20 format of the IPL matches meant that any delay in blocking access to rogue websites could lead to significant financial losses for plaintiff and an irreparable breach of their broadcast reproduction rights. Therefore, swift action to prevent such infringements was crucial to preserving plaintiff’s investment in the broadcasting rights and maintaining their copyright protections.

Thus, the Court passed the following directions:

  1. Defendants 2 to 7, and or any person acting on their behalf, were restrained from communicating, hosting, streaming, screening, disseminating or making available for viewing/downloading, without authorization, any part of the IPL Events on any electronic or digital platform in any manner whatsoever;

  2. Defendants 8 to 13 i.e., the DNRs were directed to lock and suspend the websites of Defendants 1 to 7. Further, they should disclose complete details of Defendants 2 to 7, as available with them, including e-mail addresses, mobile numbers, contact details and KYC details;

  3. Defendants 14 to 20, i.e., ISPs/TSPs were also directed to block the websites of Defendants 2 to 7, and Defendants 21 and 22 were directed to issue necessary directions for blocking these websites;

  4. During the IPL Events, if any further websites were discovered which were illegally streaming and communicating content over which plaintiff had rights, plaintiff was at liberty to communicate the details of such websites to DoT and MeitY for issuance of blocking orders, and simultaneously to the ISPs for blocking the said websites, so as to ensure that these websites could be blocked on a real time basis and there was no considerable delay.

The matter would next be listed on 22-8-2024.

[Viacom 18 Media (P) Ltd. v. John Doe, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 2071, Order dated 22-3-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Plaintiff: Sidharth Chopra, Yatinder Garg, Suhasini Raina, Sanidhya Maheshwari, Priyansh Kohli, Advocates

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.